Barcelona are making fresh attempts to tie Lionel Messi to a new and improved deal as the superstar could leave Camp Nou for nothing in just 18 months.
Messi, 31, is currently locked in a contract with Barcelona until 2021 but a clause in his current deal has forced the Blaugrana to return to the drawing board to ensure their leading man remains at the club for as long as possible.
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According to Mundo Deportivo, Messi has a specific exit clause in his contract for 2020 which stipulates he may leave the club for nothing should he choose to join a ‘non elite club’ – which means he could follow in the footsteps of former teammates Xavi and Andres Iniesta, who departed for Qatar and Japan respectively.
The decision to include the ‘special exit clause’ was to reward those who have given everything to the club, but Barcelona remain convinced that the 31-year-old will still have a lot to offer in the years after his contract expires and are therefore eager to tie him to a new deal.
The club want the Argentina international to be a one club man and are set to propose terms for an extension until 2022 or 2023 by which time Messi would be 36-years-old.
Messi currently has a €700m release clause in his contract which has been set to ward off potential interest from the likes of Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City.
The five time Ballon d’Or winner has previously expressed a desire to play at Barcelona until he feels he no longer can make a significant impact and the club hope he will hold that belief when they table a new terms for the superstar.